Hm, I haven’t been posting much, have I?
At the end of my spring semester, I was incredibly busy. 140cuse had just wrapped up, I was gearing up to head to Boston for the summer, I had finals to finish, my sister was graduating. It was a whirlwind time, and I had to prioritize some things in order to survive, so understandably, my blog-on-the-side fell off the radar for a bit. The thing was, that tempest really didn’t settle until halfway through the summer.
My internship took up most of my time through June and into July, mainly due to some wifi issues at the office that had me taking work home. At some point, I remembered Counter Talk, and this Tumblr, and thought about getting back to writing. After all, I have a bit of a backlog of posts that I owe people. People who took the time to talk with me, whose conversations were exactly the point of starting this blog in the first place. And those posts will get written. But for now, my cogs are spinning, polishing off a new and different take on what I started last year. Because here’s the long and short of it: Counter Talk is exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, Counter Talk was amazing for me, to get to meet so many passionate minds, share what I love about coffee, and get them talking about what drives their creativity. But I didn’t give myself a break. Whenever I was running low on material to write about, I was actively seeking a new person to meet with. Then I had the speaking circuit for 140, as well as my academics. If I were working with coffee full time, Counter Talk would be much more schedule and resource feasible, but as a student, it became too much. The break I allowed myself over the summer showed me that, frankly, I didn’t exactly miss it. Not as originally designed, anyway.
I loved meeting with everybody, but one of the main premises that got me started was the idea that I would be able to plant some seeds about coffee in other peoples’ minds. I think that worked, to a certain extent, but as I developed my game plan more, I found that I was talking about coffee less and less. In order to write about the other person, I had to switch off coffee-mode, and switch on journalist-mode. I’m a terrible journalist though. I can ask questions, and I can write down responses and format them for a blog post, but I have no passion for it. It’s somebody else’s craft. I lost sight of my own passion, mainly to make my writing more interesting to a wider audience. And I think that’s the wrong way to approach this space.
I want to start writing about coffee more, and I want to be a bridge between consumers and professionals in the specialty coffee industry. I think I have a unique perspective, one that plays both sides of that line - while I’m not a full-on professional in coffee, I am not a typical consumer either. I rub elbows with both groups, and understand their viewpoints, but I don’t share many of the roadblocks to having an efficient dialogue. At least, that’s how I currently see it, and that’s my inspiration to pivot on my heel and pursue a different sort of direction.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be wrapping up the last set of Counter Talk interviews: Xelinda Yancy, Chris Becker, ZPM Espresso, Baked Magazine, and Rounded Development. From then on, I’ll be focusing more on weekly coffee writing, covering all sorts of topics from machines to brew methods, global news, and so on. Expect some more editorial writing as well, because I’ve got opinions too, damnit!
But here’s the cool part, especially if you’re a Syracuse local; I’ll still be meeting with people, but this time I’ll be teaching. I want to set up a regular event with a small group of people, 4-5 seats let’s say, and take an hour to teach about coffee and answer all of your coffee-related questions. I have always enjoyed answering questions as I brew a pot of coffee for my meetings, but now I’ll be applying a structure and offering it as a service to those who want to learn something new. My hope is that this will begin to build a new community of appreciation locally, whether it’s at businesses or just at the university with a random group of strangers. $5 gets you an hour of lessons, all your questions answered, a fresh cup of coffee, and some goodies to take home, and hopefully gets you set on your path to the best coffee you’ve ever had. Because I won’t be meeting so often, and I won’t have to write about it so much, I’ll be able to put more focus into the new project, and make sure I’m providing a service people appreciate. So, we’ll see how this goes, I’d really like to make a bit of an impact in this part of Syracuse’s community.
It’s called Beansprouts, and it’s coming to Syracuse this spring.
Until then, catch me on Twitter @SteveRhinehart, I’m always happy to chat!